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Duncan Keith Could Return on Wednesday

The Blackhawks could be getting one of their top defensemen back earlier than expected.
Photo: AP

Photo: AP

On Friday, November 29th, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith exited the game against the Colorado Avalanche with a groin injury, which appeared to take place in the clip below.

He has been absent from the lineup since then, a stretch of nine games. Last week, head coach Jeremy Colliton announced that Keith's status was week-to-week.

While the Blackhawks were in St. Louis on Saturday, it was announced that Keith was skating on his own back in Chicago. Today, the veteran blueliner finally rejoined the team on the ice for practice at Fifth Third Arena.

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Given the team played the second of back-to-back contests last night, it was a light day of drills and three-on-three scrimmages for the Blackhawks. Seeing Duncan Keith out on the ice was an encouraging sign, and additional positive news rolled in after practice when players and coaches met with the media.

After discussing the nature of the injury with Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times, Duncan Keith stated that he was hopeful to play in Wednesday's contest against the Avalanche. We will see if that scenario comes to fruition, but the fact that he feels that close to returning is great news for the Blackhawks.

Since his absence, the Hawks have lost four games by three or more goals. With Olli Maatta also missing some time with an illness during that stretch, rookies Adam Boqvist and Dennis Gilbert have had to fill in some of the blanks on the blue line, and there have been some obvious growing pains.

Shot suppression has been an issue for the Blackhawks all season, but they did make improvements in that department last night when they limited the Wild to just 26 shots on goal. If they are able to build on that performance and get Duncan Keith back in the mix, it will be a huge step in the right direction, especially with three matchups against high-octane offenses (Colorado twice, Winnipeg once) looming this week.

Featured Photo: AP